State

7-story Modesto tower up for vote

The economic downturn doesn't mean the dream of downtown housing is dead.

Plans to bring a seven-story tower of condos, offices and shops to 10th and H streets could move forward Monday night.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on a zoning change that would advance the project if approved. The City Council has final say on the zoning question. The council probably will vote on it by December, Planning Division Manager Patrick Kelly said.

If built, the high-rise would be the largest new housing development to come to downtown in decades. The building's occupants could breathe life — and disposable income — into downtown's restaurants, stores and cultural attractions.

The project is the vision of Team Modesto, a partnership of businessmen that includes Paul Draper, head of Centerra Capital, a Modesto-based real estate investment management company. Draper wasn't available for comment.

At the height of the building boom in 2005, Draper described his proposed development as a "vibrant, innovative mixed-use project" in a setting similar to San Francisco's Ferry Building.

The first floor would include shops and parking; the second floor would have offices and parking. Plans call for 66 living units, with condos on the third through seventh floors and two-story town homes on the top two floors.

In light of the down economy, Team Modesto has asked the city to extend its construction deadlines. Usually, builders are required to start construction within two years of City Council approval.

Planning staff members are recommending that construction on this project could start as late as 2014 and be completed by 2016.

"Given the market, they're not anxious to move forward immediately," Kelly said.

Other housing projects in the works:

Plans still are alive to build an eight-story office and condo tower at 14th and J streets, Kelly said. Developers have received city approval. They have until October 2010 to start construction.

The city's redevelopment agency recently selected developers to build as many as 80 units of affordable rental housing on what is now Tower Park at 17th and G streets.

The redevelopment agency hopes to finalize funding by June for a 150-unit affordable housing project known as Archway Commons, north of Ninth Street and Carver Road. Groundbreaking could follow as soon as six months later.

The redevelopment agency plans to solicit proposals in February to build 11 to 13 units of senior housing on the site of the old fire station at 412 and 416 Downey St.

Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at lalbrecht@modbee.com or 578-2378. Follow her at Twitter.com/BeeReporter.

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